Dear Mr. Sobhani,
Dear partners, friends, ladies and gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to this training programme on municipal enterprises for local authorities.
Local government has a crucial role to play in all areas of development.
And with the rapid growth in urban populations, the scale of the challenges faced by urban municipalities in delivering sustainable and inclusive services only grows greater.
New forms of cooperation and ways of optimising resources are needed to meet these challenges for local government – especially in towns and cities.
UNDP’s projections show that the world’s urban population is set to increase by some 2.5 billion over the next three decades.
This rapid rate of urbanization means the challenges of sustainable development will increasingly be concentrated in cities, placing unprecedented demands on local governments to ensure ever more services while ensuring no one is left behind.
Now more than ever, therefore, it is vital that we work together across all sectors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Local governments and municipalities are crucial institutions as they are the first parties to tackle urbanization challenges. They are closest to the people and they understand best the specific risks that face local communities, particularly in poorer areas.
This is why the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development has designed a training programme to support the development of municipal enterprises as ways of working with the private sector to help increase the capacities of local governments.
On completing this programme you will be familiar with practical ways to build an ecosystem to attract the private sector and the most effective types of private sector engagement in the provision of municipal services.
The training will provide you with a background on key concepts and recent trends in urbanization, including guidance on how local government can be more inclusive, showcasing global good practices of municipal enterprises.
Because -- municipalities are now not only responsible for the meeting the basic needs of urban residents and developing and maintaining infrastructure and essential services.
They are also tasked with promoting and expanding existing businesses, addressing inefficiencies in the local economy, supporting human capital development, helping vulnerable groups to participate in the labor market, encouraging community development by promoting community businesses and attracting investment. The list goes on…
In the face of these growing demands, the financial gap between required and actual investment is substantial and growing because of limited government resources.
This is why local authorities should work with central governments to explore innovative forms of financing, including partnerships with the private sector.
Municipalities can benefit from engaging the private sector to develop capacities in procurement, contract management, and finance and operating budgets to provide better services.
As you will learn from this training programme, collaborations between the public and private sectors to tackle urban development challenges can take many forms and operate at different levels.
And it is our common objective – in line with the SDGs --to accelerate growth at the local level, promote integrated and inclusive development, and generate quality jobs and prosperity for all citizens.
At UNDP, we are big believers in the benefits of peers sharing experience with peers, and we expect this event also to lay the foundations for a regional network of mutual advice and support.
I would like to thank you all for making time to join this important training and I hope it proves to be just the beginning of a joint discussion about how can we do more and better by working together.